A spectacularly dark and electrifying novel about addiction, religion, music, and what might exist on the other side of life.
In a small New England town, in the early '60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls - including Jamie's mother and beloved sister - feel the same about Reverend Jacobs. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.
Then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, the preacher curses God, mocking all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. In his mid-30s, he is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate, he sees Jacobs again - a showman on stage, creating dazzling 'portraits in lightning' - and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. Because for every cure there is a price....
This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.
"The most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature." (Mark Lawson, Guardian)
"America's greatest living novelist." (Lee Child)
"King's gift of storytelling is unrivalled. His ferocious imagination is unlimited." (George Pelecanos)
"King is a very remarkable and singular writer. He can catch dialogue, throw away an observation or mint a simile, sometimes, brilliantly . . . Storytelling is everything - and by golly does he know how to carry the reader." (Observer)
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Did not live up to the hype
I'm sorry to say I wouldn't. Firstly may I say how much it pains me to give any Stephen King book less than five stars. As a previous reviewer state on Amazon, 'I've not read this book yet but I'm giving it five stars' as Stephen King had written it. I was very tempted to do the same. But one thing stopped me. What if this was written by a different author? What would I have rated it then? My truthful answer is three stars. Don't get me wrong, I'm a massive Stephen King fan, however I'm pretty sure he won't give two hoots for my review so I know I'm not hurting anyones feelings. This book was superbly written. The characters are well developed, the scene setting is brilliant, and you find yourself totally immersed in the story. So what was wrong with it? It didn't frighten me. I expected an awful lot from this audio book due to the quote I had read from King saying “It’s too scary. I don’t even want to think about that book any more.”But for me the book did not live up to all the hype. Antagonist Charles Jacobs did not concern me at all, and I found myself sympathising with him. Only in the final chapters did I see the old King spark, but for me it was too late. I'm usually gripped by his books, but not this time around. The story followed both Charlie and protagonist Jamie over several decades, and I just wasn't interested in hearing about Jamie's drug habits or the watery handshakes from fellow musicians. It wasn't an awful book by any means, the relationship between Jamie and his old flame Astrid was very touching and beautifully written. The book just didn't enthral me like the others. I'm also reading 'IT' and it is a real thriller in comparison. I liked this book. I just didn't love it.
David Morse was an amazing narrator and it was a joy to listen to his voice.
- Caroline Mitchell
Plodder saved by fantastic narrator